Top Five Fantasy Baseball Players You Can Steal Late in Drafts
Once the obvious first two rounds are drafted, the GM of your tiny team must begin to look deeper into your own knowledge of the sport.
Players begin to be less of stars and more knowledge is needed. The stats from previous years can often lie; you often try to stay away from losing records by pitchers, and hitters that were injured or didn't hit more than 20 home runs or hit over .275.
Heres a hint for you: If the pitchers switch teams, the ERA will stay the same but the win column will improve.
If the hitter was hurt, 75 percent of the time he will get better. If he didn't hit more than 20 home runs but showed a good amount of speed and a good average, chances are that the player is young or was on the bench for a good amount of the season and is ready for a big year.
Here are five players that might get overlooked, but just might deserve a start on your team.
No. 5: Jose Reyes
Yes, we all know about Reyes. He is no secret, but the injury that he suffered last year has made him a bit of an untouchable in the fantasy season.
ESPN ranks Jose Reyes as the No. 5 shortstop in the MLB, surprisingly below Jimmy Rollins who had an awful season last year.
Pick up Jose because in a very shallow shortstop pool he will be available around the fifth round or so.
The Mets are deeper when it comes to hitting than they have been in years. With the addition of Jason Bay and with Beltran and Wright both healthy, Jose will have a spike in runs and RBI. The risk of Jose not having the same speed is, well, a very small one.
Expect a relatively good season out of Jose, and expect him to be the third best shortstop (behind Tulo and Hanley Ramirez).
No. 4: Chris Iannetta
In many ways, Chris is a very weird pick to be a success.
For one thing, last year many fantasy owners picked up Iannetta believing that '09 would be a breakout year.
It was not, and the disappointment sank in as he became a poor bench catcher.
Another reason? Iannetta had no stolen bases at all last year and became a fly ball hitter that couldn't hit home runs.
Still, pick him up. For one thing, Chris started last season at a very slow pace and was never able to pick up his stats to look that impressive. By the start of May, Iannetta was hitting below .200. By the start of June, he still only had 15 RBI.
Chris picked it up though, and finished with 43 walks in under 300 at bats. He had a solid OBP at .344, and was able to score 41 runs.
ESPN says that he will improve in every statistic (including a much higher average). He is not a starting catcher, but Chris is good enough to keep on the bench and be a so-called "pinch hitter".
His OBP is estimated to rise almost 40 points, showing a promising season for the Rockies catcher.
No. 3: Andrew McCutchen
At an obviously deep position, a key third outfielder or even bench player that will prove to be very valuable yet a relatively late pick is Andrew McCutchen.
Just 23 years old, McCutchen made his debut last year and shined right away on the Pittsburgh squad. In just 108 games, Andrew was able to achieve a great .365 on-base percentage and hit 12 homers while still stealing 22 bases.
Once McCutchen got into the MLB groove, he was hitting a good amount of homers in August and September. From mid-September until the end of the season, McCutchen was able to steal six bases in the short span.
Not to mention, from the start of the season Andrew was steadily hitting around .285.
The 2010 season will be even better. Look for the kid to get 100 runs and grab around 35 bases. He will expand past his 124 hits in 2009 and create a great spot for your lineup.
But, most importantly, the owner will be able to grab him at a relatively low price. Andrew is still around in the fifth or sixth round of most drafts, and a keen eye will see that he is a good pickup.
This young player's speed will give you a good amount of hits and runs, and will be steady throughout the year.
No. 2: Gordon Beckham
Some experts are predicting an All-Star season for Beckham. Yet if you checked a draft list, you would never know it.
Beckham is still available in the last rounds of a draft, and is easily recommended as a bench third baseman.
Yes, third base is pretty deep and includes A-Rod, Sandoval, Longoria, Youkilis, and Zimmerman. After that, take Beckham over the overrated Aramis Ramirez and Mark Reynolds. Reynolds is famous for striking out and not getting balls in play, and though Mark is a power hitter, he hit a mere .260 last year.
Beckham is a bit of a risk, but at 24 I would expect more than 25 home runs and a shot at getting 100 RBI. His average will stay over .275 and he could score around 90 runs.
He is a risk worth taking, even if he sits on the bench until he shines.
No. 1: Javier Vazquez
Yes, I'll admit as a Sox fan, this was a fantastic pickup by the Yankees.
Vazquez is too good to get past the seventh round. Why?
Last year, on a losing Atlanta Braves team, Javier was able to pull out a 15-10 record from dust. He was able to capture great stats in every category that really were better than his record shows.
He allowed 70 earned runs, the least he ever let up in one season. His ERA was easily the lowest in his career, with a 2.87 to show off.
And don't get me started on his terrific WHIP, sitting at 1.03. Javier simply let no runners on-base, and he didn't let runs get in. And when he gets them out, well 238 strikeouts say that he gets the hitters by way of the K.
If he had a better offense last year, he would have had a great record.
Oh, what? He's on the frickin' Yankees now? Javier is bound to get a better record and his stats might dip somewhat, but they won't go far. To put Javier in a pitching spot this year would be excellent for your fantasy team.